Saturday, December 6, 2008

How do we make a difference?

The above photo is entitled Assume Nothing. This and many more spectacular photos on notsogoodphotography-'s Flickr photostream. The economy is bad and people are losing jobs and..... Yes, it is real. And now it is the holidays. What do we do? Here are some of my thoughts on the topic. And in case anyone is thinking, "I can't afford to do that." Think again. My own income is very, very limited. Yet, I feel I am able to make a difference in peoples lives in my own unique way. That is the thing. It is all about placing value on our own personal expression, and using that as a gateway for creating and giving. Give yourself permission to make things without judging yourself. Realize that just making a gesture of kindness, or encouraging words to others, whether we see a need or not, really does make a difference. Giving someone something that you took the time to make, no matter how it turns out, is worth far more than going to a department store and spending a bunch of money on something the person probably doesn't need anyway. If you are planning to give gifts this Christmas, consider making them this year. With so many craft and DIY websites and blogs out there these days, it is easy now to find cool projects that anyone can successfully do. If you just don't think you can, then consider regifting brand new items that were never used. Add a few other things to give it a personal touch. Like that cute coffee mug with the snowman you got last year- get some gourmet coffee and a few truffles and put in a decorative basket for a new gift to give a different friend. If you just simply don't have time to fuss with all of this, then PLEASE consider buying handmade items directly from artists and crafters. Know for a fact where your money is going. Know that artists really need your support right now (as do galleries). You are really making a difference by supporting the person who put their time and love into creating their art or craft, and the person who receives the gift will appreciate that you thought enough of them to buy a one of a kind gift for them. Above all remember to GIVE YOUR TIME. Your time is the most precious gift you can give. It is important to carve out time, even when it seems impossible, to spend with the people you care about. When you are out and about, y0u can make a real difference by just being helpful. People are so stressed out right now. Just a smile, or helping someone get something off the top shelf at the grocery store, or letting an elderly person go in front of you in line can really turn things around. It can also inspire those who saw your random act of kindness to do the same. Remember, it's NOT all about the money. It's all about being creative. Finding creative solutions to the lack of money and resources can often produce things of unimaginable beauty. Look inside yourself for your own creative gifts to give. Then watch and listen wherever you go. People need the smiles and kind gestures we can all give. Our own lives become richer when we are able to give, no matter what we are giving or to whom we give it. Here are some websites that can help you on your crafty holiday adventures. Craftzine Blog Crafty-Moms Country Living Crafts DIY Network Christmas How To Videos West Coast Crafty ecobites The Elfster This is only a starter list. There are thousands of sites out there. Just do a Google search for what you want to do or buy. With the exception of Craftzine and DIY, the others on the list I just happened upon with one Google search. Have fun everybody, and be sure and share what you are making!

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